From late spring to summer, a variety of insects can be seen along the paths through the jigoku. One is the hanmyō, or Japanese tiger beetle (Cicindela japconica). The largest tiger beetle in the Japanese archipelago at approximately 20 millimeters in length, the beetle has a glossy shell and sharp pincers, which it uses to eat ants and earthworms. The tiger beetle’s somewhat erratic behavior has earned it the secondary name of michioshie, meaning “guide.” If you walk close to it, the beetle will jump two or three meters ahead. If you follow, it will leap forward again and again, as if helpfully leading you down the path.
There are many more insects that call Unzen home, such as the maritime earwig, or the tropical house cricket, which can be heard chirping at night. If you look, you are likely to find other beetles, moths, butterflies, and more. If you don’t get a chance to see these insects in the wild, pay a visit to the Mt. Unzen Visitor Center for a close look at their preserved specimens.